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Greenspan's warning: confidence appears normal until the moment it is breached

By Nick Beams, 31 August 1999

US Federal Reserve Board chairman Alan Greenspan has issued his clearest warning to date that the Wall Street stock market bubble could collapse with major repercussions for the entire economy.

US bosses' pay is 400 times the average worker's

By Martin McLaughlin, 31 August 1999

A report released this weekend finds that the gap between the pay of corporate executives and the pay of workers has grown tenfold in the United States during the past two decades. While the CEOs of major corporations made an average of 42 times the pay of an average worker in 1980, today the top bosses make a staggering 419 times the average pay.

Congo peace deal reveals continuing instability

By Chris Talbot, 31 August 1999

All the participants in the Congo war, including six outside countries, the present embattled Kabila regime of the Democratic Republic of Congo and three rebel factions, finally agreed to the cease-fire agreement laid down in the Lusaka, Zambia accord of July 10. The six countries involved are Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi—who have backed the rebels—and Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe, who have backed Kabila.

Detroit teachers launch strike

By Jerry White, 31 August 1999

Detroit teachers voted Monday morning to go on strike, rejecting the recommendation of Detroit Federation of Teachers officials that they continue working under a 10-day contract extension.

NATO's landmines and cluster bombs kill or maim 150 in Kosovo

By Keith Lee, 31 August 1999

Over 150 people have been killed or maimed by landmines and unexploded munitions in Kosovo since the end of hostilities. The victims are the forgotten casualties of the NATO war against Yugoslavia.

American Airlines workers indicted for drug smuggling: critical issues behind the headlines

By Barry Grey, 31 August 1999

Last Wednesday federal agents arrested 58 people in Miami, Florida, for the most part American Airlines and Lufthansa Sky Chefs workers, on charges of drug and weapons smuggling. In pre-dawn raids at Miami International Airport and suspects' homes the workers were rounded up, handcuffed, hauled before waiting press photographers and brought before a federal judge, who issued multiple indictments for conspiracy, importation and distribution of drugs and weapons trafficking.

Civil liberties in the US threatened on two electronic fronts

By James Brookfield, 31 August 1999

Two US government initiatives made public over the past two weeks pose dramatic threats to civil liberties. First, the Justice Department has drafted proposed legislation to allow police to break into homes and businesses in order to “wiretap” computers, capture passwords and install devices to override security and encryption programs. Second, the Federal Communications Commission has adopted new standards for cellular telephones that will allow police to gather more information about callers, including their approximate location and the nature of their discussions.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 31 August 1999

Colombian workers to strike

Another comment on Eyes Wide Shut

By Marty Jonas, 30 August 1999

I find it difficult writing about Stanley Kubrick's last film Eyes Wide Shut because, basically, nothing happens.

A third of all those evicted in Britain suffer with mental illness

By Julie Hyland, 30 August 1999

Local Authorities in Britain are continuing to evict mentally ill people onto the streets, according to a new report by the national homelessness charity Crisis.

Behind the politics of "reconciliation"

By Nick Beams, 30 August 1999

To the casual observer, the passage last Thursday of a resolution by the Australian federal parliament expressing “deep and sincere regret” for past injustices against the Aboriginal people might appear as a step towards the achievement of genuine social equality.

The speculative appreciation of the stock market: a reply to a letter

By Nick Beams, 30 August 1999

The following letter, written by WSWS Editorial Board member Nick Beams, replies to a message from a reader. The message is appended below.

The political issues facing Detroit teachers

By Socialist Equality Party, 30 August 1999

As Detroit teachers prepare for possible strike action they are well aware that they are facing a fundamental attack on working conditions, living standards and the very principle of public education.

Political aftershocks in Turkey

By Justus Leicht, 28 August 1999

There is great anger among broad layers of the Turkish population over the actions (and inactions) of the state following the most devastating earthquake in the country's history. The government, president and army leadership have reacted to the widespread discontent with a mixture of scornful arrogance and nervousness. Suddenly, the deep gulf that separates the political establishment from the vast majority of the people has become visible.

East Timorese prepare to vote in UN referendum

By Peter Symonds, 28 August 1999

Just days before the UN-supervised referendum was due to take place over the future of East Timor, violent clashes erupted in the capital of Dili between pro-Indonesian militia groups and supporters of the separatist National Council for Timorese Resistance (CNRT).

Some interesting films on US television, August 28-September 3

By Marty Jonas (MJ) and David Walsh (DW), 28 August 1999

Video pick of the week—find it in your video store 

UN reports reveal global growth of drug abuse

By Steve James, 28 August 1999

Two recent reports by the United Nations Drugs Control Programme (UNDCP) provide an insight into the global spread of drug abuse. "Global Illicit Drug Trends" was compiled from questionnaires sent to national governments requesting information on drug seizures by police and customs officials. "The Drug Nexus in Africa" was drawn out of information forwarded by drug control agencies in 10 African states. In the language of statistics, they provide an overview of the scale and depth of drug use internationally. The African report in particular sheds some light on the social, economic and political origins of drug taking.

One and a half million poor in Britain going without gas and electricity

By Chris Marsden, 28 August 1999

Gas and electricity companies last year forced between one and one and a half million of Britain's poorest people to “self-disconnect” their energy supplies, because they could not afford to feed the prepayment meter.

Britain's Labour government massages the figures on hospital waiting time

By Julie Hyland, 28 August 1999

Labour's efforts to cut hospital waiting lists by cooking the books are endangering people's lives, official statistics reveal.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 28 August 1999

Sri Lankan garment workers face trial

The political lessons of the Waco massacre

By , 27 August 1999

The WSWS is here republishing the statement which first appeared in The International Workers Bulletin, the printed newspaper of the Socialist Equality Party and forerunner of the World Socialist Web Site.

Trial date set for 14-year-old Michigan youth charged with first-degree murder

By Helen Halyard, 27 August 1999

The recent decision of the Michigan Supreme Court not to hear an appeal clears the way for a trial in the case of Nathaniel Abraham, who was charged with first-degree murder at age 11 in 1997. Nathaniel will be the first person prosecuted for a crime allegedly committed at the age of 11, making him the youngest ever. His trial date is set for September 21.

Bank of New York probe exposes ties between Western financiers and Russian Mafia

By James Brookfield, 27 August 1999

When the history of the first ten years of capitalist restoration in Russia is written, it will have to include two fundamental points. First, that never before was so much money stolen by so few people in so short a span of time. Second, that the thieves included not only elements of the old Stalinist nomenklatura and a new generation of Russian gangster-businessmen, but also a good number of Western bankers and government officials.

Bangladesh government crackdown on women engaged in prostitution

By Nandana Nanneththi, 27 August 1999

In the midst of criticism of a witch-hunt launched by the government on women engaged in prostitution, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheik Hasina Wajed held a meeting with newspaper editors on August 20 to justify her government's stand.

FBI admits use of incendiary grenades at Waco

By Martin McLaughlin, 27 August 1999

Officials of the FBI and Justice Department admitted Wednesday that tear gas grenades with potentially incendiary effect were used in the final assault on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas six years ago. The fire that erupted in the compound killed 80 members of the religious sect.

Air Niugini sacks engineers

By Noel Holt, 27 August 1999

Air Niugini retrenched its entire 96-strong engineering workforce at the end of last month, again focusing public attention on safety problems in Papua New Guinea's national air carrier. The sackings came as the new government of Prime Minister Mekere Morauta prepared to announce far-reaching privatisation plans covering state-owned assets, including Air Niugini.

RUC reform increases tensions in Irish peace agreement

By Mike Ingram, 27 August 1999

As the British and Irish governments embark on their review of the Good Friday Agreement, the Belfast Telegraph leaked the main contents of a report being prepared by Chris Patten into the future of policing in Northern Ireland.

Physical education cuts in Britain threaten children's health

By Julie Hyland, 27 August 1999

A Survey by the Sports and Physical Education Network (SPEN) has revealed that constant government pressure for children to "perform" educationally is at the expense of their physical development.

Scant international aid for Turkish earthquake disaster

By Chris Marsden, 27 August 1999

Despite the constant references to a “massive international relief effort", the Turkish earthquake disaster revealed a studied indifference to human suffering on the part of the major governments. The latest available total figure for aid donated by both foreign governments and charity groups to Turkey is a meagre $20.6 million in cash, according to the United Nations. This figure would not even cover the costs for one day of NATO's recent bombardment of Yugoslavia.

Labour government cuts public spending in Britain to lowest rate in 40 years

By Chris Marsden, 26 August 1999

The Labour government under Prime Minister Tony Blair is on course to spend less than any administration since that of Conservative Prime Minister Harold Macmillan 40 years ago. Even more revealingly, it has slashed public spending to a level of which Margaret Thatcher could only have dreamed.

Three years of US welfare reform: hunger grows, poverty deepens

By Debra Watson, 26 August 1999

While the Clinton administration and congressional Republicans are celebrating the third anniversary of the dismantling of the federal AFDC welfare program, claiming that "welfare reform" has been a great success, reports from more objective observers have found deepening hunger and social misery, especially for the poorest families.

Workers Struggles: Europe and Africa

By , 26 August 1999

British fire fighters and ambulance workers to ballot for strike action

New York's asthma rates reveal social disparities

By Allan Whyte, 26 August 1999

A report just issued by the Center for Children's Health and the Environment at Mount Sinai School of Medicine has concluded that the poor and minorities in New York City are 21 times more likely to be hospitalized for asthma than the affluent. For example, lower East Harlem, where the average household income was $18,732, had the most serious problem, with a rate of hospitalization of 222.28 per 10,000 per year. In a neighborhood like the Rockaways where the average household income was $103,125, the rate was zero, which means that not a single person had to be treated in a hospital for asthma in the last year. The report cited a previous study that has shown that asthma hospitalization rates were 7.5 times higher for minorities than for whites.

Snapshots of America's brutal society: state murder, police corruption and the expanding prison population

By Kate Randall, 26 August 1999

Judges meeting at luxury resort discuss ways to speed up executions

Detroit school board demands sweeping concessions from teachers

By Jerry White, 26 August 1999

With classes scheduled to begin next week, Detroit's newly appointed school board and its chief executive officer are pressing for sweeping concessions from the district's 7,700 teachers, including the lengthening of the school day and school year, and the introduction of a merit-pay system. The teachers' current contract expires August 30, the day before 180,000 students are scheduled to return to classrooms.

South African public sector workers hold mass one-day strike

By our reporter, 26 August 1999

One million public sector workers went on strike on Tuesday, August 24 in South Africa. The majority were black members of three unions affiliated to the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), but there were also members of nine other unions affiliated to the mainly white Federation of Unions of South Africa.

British Home Secretary pushes through scheme to disperse asylum-seekers

By Julie Hyland, 25 August 1999

Britain's Labour government is fanning the flames of racial prejudice in an effort to justify its Asylum and Immigration Bill and outdo the Conservative opposition.

New revelations in murder of Irish civil rights lawyer

By Mike Ingram, 25 August 1999

A court action brought against Sunday Tribune reporter Ed Moloney demanding that he hand over notes of interviews conducted with murder suspect William Stobie nine years ago has resulted in a devastating admission by a senior police officer.

Australian firefighters demand better death and disability pensions

By Steve Dean, 25 August 1999

For the first time in over 15 years, firefighters in the Australian state of New South Wales have taken industrial action. Since the beginning of the month the fire services have been hit by a series of work bans and strikes. The industrial campaign is, at the moment, on hold while negotiations between the union and the NSW Labor government grind on.

British Columbia's premier felled by casino-licensing scandal

By Keith Jones, 25 August 1999

Dan Miller, a former millwright and trade union official, is to be sworn in today as Premier of British Columbia. But he will head the government of Canada's third most populous province only until the social-democratic New Democratic Party (NDP) can organize a leadership convention to choose a new party leader.

Trade deficit fuels fears of dollar crisis

By Nick Beams, 25 August 1999

While the Dow Jones index continues to surge—hitting a new record high of 11,299 on Monday—warnings are being sounded that the ever-widening US trade deficit and growing indebtedness are setting the conditions for a financial crisis.

The atmospheric music of Underground Lovers

By Jason Nichols, 25 August 1999

One of the more thoughtful contemporary music bands to emerge in Australia in the last decade is Underground Lovers. Cold Feeling, the group's latest CD, combines guitar rhythms and taped music sequences with introspective lyrics to produce unusual songs and atmospheric dance music.

How the Turkish earthquake disaster was prepared

By , 25 August 1999

Dear editor,

The earthquake in Turkey: Western bankers see a silver lining

By Barry Grey, 25 August 1999

Turkish authorities on Tuesday raised the official count of fatalities from last week's earthquake to 17,997, nearly 6,000 more than the previous day's figure. The toll is expected to continue climbing and could surpass 40,000.

British mercenaries planned assassination of Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan

By Chris Marsden, 24 August 1999

Confidential documents leaked to the Sunday Times reveal that a mercenary outfit with close links to the Special Air Service (SAS) and British Intelligence offered to assassinate Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan.

Bank Bali scandal puts pressure on Indonesian President Habibie

By Peter Symonds, 24 August 1999

The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have both made public calls over the last week for an independent, public inquiry in Indonesia into a scandal involving $US78 million siphoned off from Bank Bali. Such an inquiry threatens to further undermine President B.J. Habibie and his re-election bid, as several of those most closely involved are connected to the ruling Golkar Party.

US military trains for urban warfare

By David Walsh, 24 August 1999

As part of its preparation for intervention around the globe, the US army is putting the finishing touches to its new Mounted Urban Combat Training Site at Fort Knox, Kentucky. The site, located on 26 acres, will include a mock town where tank units will learn “how to fight in the dangerously close confines of an urban center” ( New York Times, August 22, 1999). Although its opening has been delayed by red tape and budgetary concerns, officials at Fort Knox assert the site will be open in October.

The breakdown of the profit system

By , 24 August 1999

The following letter was sent by a WSWS reader. A reply, by WSWS editorial board member Nick Beams, can be found at:

The breakdown of the profit system: perception and scientific analysis

By Nick Beams, 24 August 1999

The following is a reply by WSWS editorial board member Nick Beams to a letter from a reader, IM. The reader's letter can be found at:

Workers Struggle: The Americas

By , 24 August 1999

Argentine public workers demand unpaid wages

The PKK (Kurdish Workers Party) publicly renounces the armed struggle

By Justus Leicht, 24 August 1999

A few days after its imprisoned leader Abdullah "Apo" Ocalan issued a call to his party to do so, the PKK (Workers Party of Kurdistan) central committee declared the end of the armed struggle and thereby an end to the strategy which it has pursued since its foundation.

... A wind from the East

By Stefan Steinberg, 24 August 1999

Ten years after German reunification a handful of films are emerging that attempt to deal with the realities of life in contemporary Germany. Barely a day goes by without a sanitised report of the glowing future opening up for Berlin as the city adjusts once more to its role as capital of a reunited Germany. The German parliamentary deputies have packed their cases in Bonn and are in the process of moving to luxurious new homes in Berlin—their bags and pockets crammed with generous subsidies for removal expenses, kindergartens, free plane and train travel, etc., etc.

Wall Street's dirty secret: 1990s boom based on smashing of labor in the 1980s

By Martin McLaughlin, 24 August 1999

A column by Thomas Friedman in the August 20 New York Times has spelled out the essential prerequisite for the protracted financial boom in the United States during the 1990s: the onslaught against the American working class which began in the previous decade.

Turkish government calls off rescue efforts as earthquake death toll mounts

By Barry Grey, 24 August 1999

A week after the earthquake that struck the heavily populated northwest of Turkey, the toll of death and destruction continues to mount. As heavy rains pelted the stricken region on Monday, Turkish sources placed the death toll at more than 12,000 and relief officials warned the figure could rise to 40,000.

Youth suicides in New Zealand prisons

By John Tapp, 24 August 1999

Two reports recently released by New Zealand's Commissioner for Children provide a glimpse of the brutal, dehumanising fate that faces young people caught up in the country's prison system. The Commissioner, Roger McClay, published the two reports last month, after conducting investigations into the suicides in detention of David Tufala, aged 15 and Damien Meyer, 17. Both boys died while incarcerated in adult prisons.

Britain's Home Secretary denounced for inciting racial hatred against Gypsies

By Julie Hyland, 23 August 1999

British Home Secretary Jack Straw has been reported to the West Midlands police for inciting racial hatred. The complaint was lodged by the Friends, Families and Travellers Advice and Information Unit (FFTAIU) following Straw's remarks during a BBC radio programme last month that there was widespread criminality amongst "many" travellers.

The resegregation of US public schools

By Larry Roberts, 23 August 1999

A new study released in June of this year by a Harvard University educational group reveals that since the late 1980s the achievements in the integration of the nation's public schools have steadily regressed, now approaching the levels of the early 1970s when the national policy of busing for integration was initiated.

Kenneth Starr and his accomplices: new aspects of the impeachment conspiracy

By Martin McLaughlin, 23 August 1999

Two developments this past week have shed additional light on the connections between right-wing political forces, the media and the investigation into the Clinton White House by Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr, which triggered Clinton's impeachment and trial by the Senate.

Cambodian activists found innocent over toxic dumping protests

By Celeste Lopez, 23 August 1999

Charges were dropped against two Cambodian human rights activists, Kim Sen and Meas Minear, on July 21. They had been arrested during a protest last December 19 and 20 against the dumping of toxic waste by a Taiwanese plastics company.

Kellogg and Pratt & Whitney top list of US job cuts

By Andrea Peters, 21 August 1999

According Challenger, Gray and Christmas Inc., a job placement firm based in New York, July marks the sixteenth consecutive month of a year to year increase in job cuts. Two thousand workers over the past month have lost their jobs with little or no warning, particularly impacting the small business market. Also, Layoffs resulting from mergers between firms rose by 52 percent this year as compared to last.

A reader comments on Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut and David Walsh replies

By , 21 August 1999

Dear Editor,

Kirkland and the Bulletin newspaper: a revealing exchange

By Barry Grey, 21 August 1999

An incident from 1985 involving Lane Kirkland and this reporter is worth citing, because it provides a sense of both the politics and the style of the man.

Some interesting films on US television, August 21-27

By Marty Jonas (MJ) and David Walsh (DW), 21 August 1999

Video pick of the week—find it in your video store 

What was Bill Richardson up to in Istanbul?

By James Brookfield, 21 August 1999

Tuesday morning's earthquake near Izmit, Turkey roused US Energy Secretary Bill Richardson from his bed on the twelfth floor of an Istanbul hotel. He told reporters that the building rocked back and forth for 45 seconds, during which time he was terrified.

Typhoon compounds North Korean food shortages

By Amanda Hitchcock, 21 August 1999

The typhoon that struck the Korean peninsula earlier this month has compounded chronic food shortages in North Korea, which has been afflicted by widespread famine over the last five years. The rain broke the drought, which was affecting this year's harvest, but only created new problems. Even before the full force of the typhoon hit the country, torrential rains left more than 40,000 hectares of farmland submerged. The typhoon itself killed 42 people and left nearly 40,000 homeless.

Former AFL-CIO President Lane Kirkland dies: a Cold War anti-communist and servant of big business

By Jerry White and Barry Grey, 21 August 1999

Lane Kirkland, the president of the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) from 1979 to 1995, died of lung cancer August 14 at the age of 77.

French police arrest 210 asylum-seekers

By Chris Marsden, 21 August 1999

Thursday morning 6.00 a.m. saw a massive police operation against asylum-seekers in the French port of Calais. In total, 210 arrests were made on the pretext that those detained were seeking illegal entry into Britain, across the Channel.

Moscow escalates intervention in Dagestan

By Patrick Richter, 21 August 1999

For two weeks, an undeclared war has raged in Dagestan between Russian troops from the Ministry of the Interior and Islamic rebels under the leadership of the former Chechen field commander Shamil Basayev and the Jordanian Khattab.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

By , 21 August 1999

Pakistan workers appeal for support

Malaysian government instigates a politically motivated 'anti-corruption' drive

By John Roberts, 20 August 1999

Malaysian economic regulatory authorities—the Securities Commission and the central bank, Bank Negara—have initiated an extensive crackdown in the corporate sector in the name of ending corrupt practices. However, questions have been raised by opposition figures and in financial circles about the selective, political nature of the measures that have targeted businessmen connected to opponents of the Malaysian government.

Dover, England refugees become focus of chauvinist campaign

By Tony Hyland, 20 August 1999

The south of England coastal port of Dover was the scene of violent confrontations between local youths and refugees last Saturday. The annual fun fair, held near the town centre, was the setting for the disturbances.

Serbs and Roma flee KLA terror in Kosovo

By Michael Conachy, 20 August 1999

Propaganda claims that the US-NATO war against Yugoslavia was conducted in a humanitarian effort to halt “ethnic cleansing” in Kosovo lie in tatters as Serbs and Roma (gypsies) continue to flee the province to escape harassment, intimidation, beatings and murder at the hands of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA).

Contract employee dies in accident at Rouge Steel in Dearborn, Michigan

By Helen Halyard, 20 August 1999

At 5 a.m. Thursday morning a steel plant maintenance worker died after being overcome by noxious fumes during a routine maintenance job at Rouge Steel, located at the Ford Motor Company's River Rouge complex in Dearborn, Michigan. The worker's name has not yet been released. This is now the third in a series of deadly accidents to take place at the 78-year-old facility during the past year.

The impact of growing labor productivity: a letter from a WSWS reader

By , 20 August 1999

The following letter was sent by a WSWS reader. A reply, by WSWS editorial board member Nick Beams, can be found at:

Anger mounts in Turkey following earthquake disaster

By Justus Leicht, 20 August 1999

The official death toll from the earthquake that struck northwest Turkey on Tuesday officially surpassed 6,800 on Thursday afternoon and is expected to rise further as rescuers recover bodies from the rubble. More than 33,000 people are injured, and thousands more are still missing.

Fissures widen in Northern Ireland Agreement

By Julie Hyland and Chris Marsden, 20 August 1999

The Northern Ireland Agreement has continued to unravel in the weeks since the British government was forced to announce its “parking” until next month. A review is set to begin in September, chaired by former US Senator George Mitchell. But Mitchell is said to have been taken aback by reports that Sinn Fein may not even participate. A tense meeting of Sinn Fein's ruling body is reported to have declined to give the go-ahead to the Sinn Fein negotiators.

The impact of increasing labour productivity on the crisis of profit system

By Nick Beams, 20 August 1999

The following is a reply by WSWS editorial board member Nick Beams to a letter from a reader, IM. The reader's letter can be found at:

Thousands die in Turkey earthquake

By Shannon Jones, 19 August 1999

An earthquake measuring an estimated 7.8 on the Richter scale hit northwest Turkey in the early morning hours of August 17 killing thousands and injuring more than ten thousand. Most of the victims were buried while they slept by the collapse of poorly constructed apartment buildings and homes.

Workers Struggles: Europe, the Middle East and Africa

By , 19 August 1999

Maltese fire fighters strike in dispute over union recognition

"Eyes wide shut": The reopening of Columbine High School

By David Walsh, 19 August 1999

The ceremony marking the reopening of Columbine High School in Littteton, Colorado, the scene of a horrifying mass shooting and double suicide April 20, was a travesty. Revealed in the event was the inability and unwillingness of any element within official American society to confront the sources of the violence that has erupted in schools and elsewhere.

New PNG government implements IMF's economic restructuring demands

By Frank Gaglioti and Sue Phillips, 19 August 1999

After just over a month in office, the Papua New Guinea government led by Prime Minister Mekere Morauta has announced plans for a far-reaching program of economic restructuring, along the lines being demanded by the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the country's former colonial ruler, Australia.

South Korean president releases rival's wealthy son

By Terry Cook, 19 August 1999

Despite widespread public opposition, South Korea's President Kim Dae Jung used his presidential powers last weekend to pardon Kim Hyun Chul, the convicted son of the country's former president Kim Young Sam, who left office at the end of 1997.

China spying charges denounced as racist frame-up

By Martin McLaughlin, 19 August 1999

In an interview with the Washington Post published Tuesday, the former chief of counterintelligence at the Los Alamos National Laboratory denounced the claims of espionage leveled against a former scientist there as a case “built on thin air” that targeted Wen Ho Lee because he was of Asian ancestry.

The continued drastic impact of the AIDS epidemic on sub-Saharan Africa

By Barry Mason, 19 August 1999

Sub-Saharan Africa is the epicentre of the AIDS epidemic, having two-thirds of the world's current cases. Zimbabwe and Zambia lie at the core of this area. The social and economic consequences of this epidemic continue to erode the viability of these countries.

World trade conflicts intensify

By Nick Beams, 18 August 1999

An article published in the Financial Times last Saturday on some recent activities of the US Central Intelligence Agency has cast a revealing light on the tensions between the major capitalist powers as they prepare for the ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organisation to be held in Seattle in November to set the agenda for global trade negotiations in the so-called Millennium Round.

Right-wing young Greens go on the offensive

By Ludwig Niethammer, 18 August 1999

The right-wing turn by the Green party is intensifying weekly. At the beginning of July a large section of the so-called "Young Greens" went public with a statement in which they demanded a totally new programmatic orientation for the party.

IMF tightens the screws on Zimbabwe

By Jean Shaoul, 18 August 1999

After months of withholding finance, bringing Zimbabwe to the brink of collapse, the International Monetary Fund has finally agreed to provide a 14-month standby loan of US$193 million. This is to enable the country to resume its repayments to its international creditors. For the first time since independence in 1980, Zimbabwe is $20 million a month behind in its foreign debt payments, resulting in a $190 million deficit for 1999.

Iowa straw poll: the decadence of American politics on display

By Martin McLaughlin, 18 August 1999

Even by the decadent standards of American politics, the August 14 straw poll in Iowa marked a new low. Rival candidates for the Republican presidential nomination clashed in a vote-buying contest, lavishing enormous sums to bribe a few thousand party loyalists and hangers-on, while the media collaborated by inflating the significance of the contest and treating it with utmost seriousness.

Efforts stepped up in Spain to prevent trial of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet

By Vicky Short, 18 August 1999

Strenuous efforts are now under way to ensure that Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet avoids having to stand trial in Spain. The final court hearing to decide whether Pinochet can be extradited from Britain to Spain is due to take place in London on September 27.

Civil war erupts again in Afghanistan

By Peter Symonds, 18 August 1999

Fierce fighting has erupted in Afghanistan between the Taliban fundamentalist Islamic militia and opposition forces led by Ahmed Shah Masood. Over the last three weeks, the conflict has left hundreds dead and driven tens of thousands people from their homes. It has the potential to trigger broader regional strife as neighbouring countries and the major powers intervene to shore up their interests in the area.

Texas court issues last-minute stay of execution of mentally ill death row prisoner

By Kate Randall, 18 August 1999

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled 5-4 yesterday to stay the execution of Larry Keith Robison, a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic who was scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection in Huntsville, Texas at 6pm Tuesday. He was convicted and sentenced to death for the murders of five people in 1982, carried out while in a psychotic state. He has spent 16 years on death row.

An artist to be taken seriously

By Richard Phillips, 18 August 1999

The Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney is hosting a major retrospective by American artist/photographer Cindy Sherman. The exhibition, which includes photographs from the mid-1970s through to 1996, is jointly organised by the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and Los Angeles and will be shown at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto after the Sydney season concludes on August 30.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

By , 17 August 1999

Tentative settlement averts strike at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital

Hot nights in the city: New York City's environmental future

By Alan Whyte, 17 August 1999

The month of July established a record-breaking heat wave in New York City, as part of hot and humid weather patterns throughout the US, particularly in the Northeast. In New York, there were 11 days that reached a high of 95 degrees or more, the highest number since temperatures were first recorded in 1869. It was also the driest, with only 0.44 inches of rain for the entire month, also the lowest number since 1869, threatening the city with a serious drought. Thirty-three people have died due to unbearable heat and no available air conditioning.

Ethnic conflict escalates in Nigeria

By Barry Mason, 17 August 1999

The last month has seen serious outbreaks of ethnic conflict in Nigeria. On July 18 and 19 there were clashes in Sagumu, a town 30 miles north of Lagos in the south west of Nigeria.

Social inequality and the World Wide Web

By Michael Conachy, 17 August 1999

Those who are "on line" know that the Internet is a tool with astonishing potential. With the click of a mouse, anyone anywhere in the globe can access a vast amount of knowledge. For the cost of a local telephone call, a user can interact, converse, exchange ideas and information with people thousands of kilometres away instantaneously.

Australian authorities bar Deaf Congress delegates from entering the country

By Regina Lohr, 17 August 1999

Last month the Howard government barred over 50 delegates to the 13th World Congress of the World Federation of the Deaf from entering Australia. The Congress, held in Brisbane from July 25 to 31, was forced to convene without them.

Warnings of "Vietnamization" of Colombian civil war

By Bill Vann, 17 August 1999

Warnings that the United States was preparing a major military intervention in the conflict between the Colombian government and the country's 40-year-old guerrilla movement grew more insistent as Washington prepared yet another high-level diplomatic tour to discuss the crisis in the Latin American nation.

Turkish trade union leader murdered

By Justus Leicht, 17 August 1999

On the night of the August 6, Turkish trade union leader Semsi Denizer was shot dead in front of his house in the mountain province of Zonguldak. Denizer was hit with 14 gun shots. He was the leader of the Turkish miners union, Genel Maden-Is, and general secretary of the biggest and most influential of the Turkish trade union umbrella organisations, Türk-Is.

Sister of mentally ill prisoner facing August 17 execution in Texas: "A segment of society is applauding a man's death"

By Kate Randall, 16 August 1999

Barring a highly unlikely intervention by the US Supreme Court, Larry Keith Robison will be executed by the state of Texas in Huntsville at 6pm Tuesday, August 17.